Last year I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks in Thailand. It was an unforgettable experience. I met a tone of people with many interesting stories and I saw wonders (naturals and manmade). Like in each one of my trips, an important part of it felt into the “Food” category. I wanted to truly immerse in their gastronomic culture and I wanted to try as many different meals as I could from “Thai Food”.
The first days
The first day that I spent in Bangkok I decided to go first to the Grand Palace. I wasn’t staying far from it and I decided to go there by foot. Like it is likely you all know, Thailand’s king died not long ago. To be exact, about three weeks before I started my trip. Before leaving I looked into how that was going to affect my holidays (avoid clothes in bright colours, try and always wear something black and not too revealing). The day that I arrived to Bangkok was supposed to be the first day when the Palace was going to be open to all the public. But no. In the last moment they decided to delay opening the palace to tourists for another week. And it basically screwed my planning… to a point.
Right in front of the Grand Palace there’s this huge park called Sanam Luang. During the first weeks after the King’s passing, dozens of food stands were offering thai food, massages and even haircuts to anyone who would approach them. For free. Yep, completely. Initially I was a bit reticent because I didn’t want to take advantadge of their generosity, but it wasn’t long until I noticed that because of my status as tourist that they actually chased me to feed me. And who am I to refuse. It was one of my very first experiences in Thailand and it was a great example of the country’s kindness.
I passed through that park a couple of times and I tried more than six different meals. Some flat rice noodles with chicken. A couple of wraps with vegetables and sweet sauce. Or some deep fried meat… It was all delicious and I enjoyed like never before. It was the real thai food.
A couple of days later I was starting my journey to Krabi. In Krabi town I went to this little restaurant called Chalita Cafe & Restaurant. There, I enjoyed of a fantastic pineaple curry while chatting with the owner, a quite nice woman with an amazing level of English. And the pineaple was amazing. I’ll just tell you that I also had some more for desser. Just amazing.
By then, everything was fine. We were good. My next stop after Krabi was the National Parl Khao Sok. This park is a fantastic combination of a lake, several caves and small hills. The place is breathtaking… but the offer of hotels is not that wide. Or good. I ended up in a tree house (though that’s a story for another time) absolutely picturesque. For some reason, meals were not included, not even breakfast. Given the lack of places to go and have breakfast, I decided to stay and have my first meal at my hotel. I asked for some poached eggs on a toast. Curiously, one of the eggs kind of tasted funny. I didn’t pay any more importance to it. Any guess about what happened about half a day later?
It was only half a day later when the debacle started. I was unable to even drink water for three days. Let me tell ya’… it was ugly. at day four post-egg I started to eat a couple of crackers a day and then rice season started. And from there it all went down between thai food and me.
Rice? Did anyone say rice?
So, let’s summarize. I hadn’t been able to eat for a week and at that time I was only eating white rice. I was barely a couple of days away from starting a 4-day trek to visit the Umphang waterfalls and let’s say that I was beyond week. But well, the trip I had booked had included the three meals of the day. Do you want to know which were two of these three meals? Yeah, rice. Usually really overcooked rice. With curry that for some reason would always have some dairy (that I don’t tolerate). So yeah, I spent four more days eating rice. Only rice. I had recurrent dreams (more like nightmares) about rice.
Chiang Mai: Making peace with Thai Food
On the last day of my trip, the excursion would leave us in Chiang Mai (right begore the Loy Kathroing, thoug that deserves entirely a post). I spent about a week in that amazing city and I am not (entirely) ashamed to say that the first three days I only eat hamburgers. My stomach was back to normal and I could finaly eat something with flavour! Something that it wouldn’t look like watery oats. My gosh how much I enjoyed it…
In one of my last days there, I decided to give Thai food another chance. In this case I did my usual research and went to Tripadvisor to check other travellers’ opinions. I finally decided to try and go to Dash. This little restaurant is a bit complicated to find but their food is quite nice. I don’t remember exactly what I ordered, I just asked for their recommendation and went for it. And it was a good idea, it finally allowed my reconciliation with Thai food.
To date, almost four months later, I still cannot eat white rice. But Thai food is no longer on my black list.
What about you? Is there something you really enjoyed eating in any of your trips?